Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Don't mention the 'D' word....

I've mentioned a few times that C does not like doilies, I think he has a secret fear I'm going to cover the house in them or something. Having said that there are currently three in use in the living room and he only knows about one of them :) What he doesn't know can't hurt him I guess (I'll have to hope he doesn't read this blog post!)

Needless to say he was not best pleased when I started crocheting two 'doilies' last week. Technically one of them is of course a mandala, but he doesn't seem to appreciate the difference! Luckily for him these are my Mother's Day present for this year - my Mum does have a doily appreciation.

The green one is made using this wonderful pattern, the Heart's Desire Doily from Red Heart. I wondered whether the lovely Lil from House with Hearts had come across it! It was a very enjoyable make, I'm going to make one for me in pink and hide place it tactically somewhere in the living room. The other pattern is from the very talented Zooty Owl, the Happy Days Mandala. I didn't block them as they were posted, my dear Mum ran away to Pembrokeshire for the week so I didn't see her on Mother's Day itself (I don't blame her!).

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Checking In: March

Making : Mostly Bonnie's blanket and some of my hexies

Cooking : Risotto. Hubbie is away and it's my favourite so I've had it the last two nights

Drinking : Wine. Not all day (!) but a nice cold glass of white to accompany my evening Call the  Midwife and crochet sessions (my Friday and Saturday nights are really rock and roll at the moment :))

Reading: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty - very gripping!

Wanting: To go away. We're thinking about going to Munich in May, and then I've just found out there's a hen do in Madrid in July, so not long before I can explore the world a bit more.

Looking: At a blank screen and trying to come up with a conclusion.

Deciding: Whether to take some more work and delay submitting my thesis (again!) or leave the work and power on to submission.

Wishing: It would get a little bit warmer.

Enjoying: The longer days.

Wondering: What happens next.

Loving: The fact that we have lots of flowers in the house at the moment, always guaranteed to cheer me up :)

Pondering: What to do for my birthday (it's not until May but I want something to look forward to!) trip to Norfolk in Bonnie, or week in Pembrokeshire....

Considering: Starting a new granny square project with the yarn I got in Berlin last year and is now just sitting around...

Buying: Nothing, still being good on that front.

Watching: We've started watching Episodes - it's different to what I thought, but still enjoying it!

Cringing: At all the Jeremy Clarkson fuss - I really don't like the man at all!

Needing: A bit of a break

Smelling: Bran loaf, baking away in the oven, I love the smell of cake!

Wearing: A big baggy uni hoody because it's comfy and I'm being a hermit today.

Noticing: All the croci everywhere, I love that purple colour.

Knowing: All about the East German navy - not sure how it will help me in the future, but it's helping me edit a chapter of the future!

Thinking: About my Mum and Nana on Mother's Day.

Admiring: These coasters, they're stunning!

Sorting: Out the house a bit, we need a bit of reorganising at the moment, we both have far too much stuff!

Getting: Restless and a bit frustrated with just how long I'm actually taking to finish my PhD. 

Bookmarking: This orange and almond cake from Marion at My Two Girls, I've wanted to make it since I saw it, maybe this week! it looks so scrummy and I love all things orange.

Coveting: I really really want a big bar of chocolate - I've given it up for Lent and am craving it at the moment

Giggling: At this dog, I really really want a dog, I'm hoping once the thesis is in and we've settled down we can get one :)

Feeling: A bit of a mix this month, it's been a strange old year so far.

Snacking: Cherry cake... mmmmmmm....

Comforting: Myself. With cherry cake. It works!!

Hearing: Classic FM, my Sunday soundtrack

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Year in Books - March

Yikes, this is a rather late March post!

I've read two books in the last month, both historical fiction and I enjoyed them both. I've fallen into my usual rut of reading the same type of books - next month I'll revert back to the book challenge and expand my horizons.

The first book I read was 'The Miniaturist' by Jessie Burton. A lot of people have been reading this in blogland, so I had a rough idea what I was getting in to. It's a historical novel set in Amsterdam in the seventeenth century. The plot follows the experiences of eighteen year old Nella Oortman, a girl from a small country village who married a prosperous merchant and moves to the city. The historical detail is so rich, an awful lot of research must have gone into this book and it pays off. Burton has an entertaining and gripping style, I couldn't put the book down! All is not as it seems in Nella's marital home, under the thumb of her new sister-in-law she has to try and adapt to her new life, which is full of mysteries and the unexplained, her new husband is distant and marriage is entirely different to her expectations. I won't reveal much more, but I'd really recommend the book. The characters are very realistic, and I found Nella sympathetic - I rooted for her. The ending was a bit abrupt for my liking, but I loved learning more about the illustrious merchant traders from the C17th.

The other book I read was Philippa Gregory's 'The Constant Princess'. I love Philippa Gregory and knew I would enjoy this book. The novel portrays the early life of Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of the notorious Henry VIII, he famously created the Church of England in order to divorce her. Oh to be a king. Married to his elder brother, Arthur, Prince of Wales, who died before ascending to the throne, Katherine was older than Henry and there has been much debate over whether she was a virgin after her marriage to Arthur (she maintained she was, if she wasn't then her marriage to her brother-in-law would have been a sin in the eyes of the Catholic church - this is what Henry used as the basis for his claim to divorce). The book presents an interesting interpretation on this, I won't give anything away. Katherine was a strong woman, which Gregory clearly demonstrates - I learned a lot about her role as Queen and the power she exercised. I think historical fiction, although an interpretation of historical events, plays such an important role in restoring female figures to our consciousness - often overlooked within 'his'tory. I thought the book was a little too long, it could have been shorter, but overall it was engaging and interesting. I found the representation of diplomatic relations in Europe at this time fascinating. Again, I would recommend this book :)

For the next month I am going back to my book challenge I wrote about here. One of the categories is 'thriller' - not a genre I read often, but with perfect timing my mother in law kindly gave me this book at the weekend, she thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommended it, so I am looking forward to it. I will leave it at one book this month - the full draft to supervisors deadline is looming so it's going to get a bit stressful/manic/depressing around these parts ;)

Linking up with Laura at The Circle of Pines, pop on over there to see what everyone else is reading :)

Sunday, 8 March 2015


Moments of Spring

Washing flying in the breeze under a bright blue sky, I'm a wimp and don't hang it out in the winter as I don't like standing in the cold and it always seems wet when you bring it in. Winter for us always involves soggy washing draped in random places over the house - we don't own a tumble drier!

Croci on campus, I went for a walk around in the middle of my study day and saw these sprouting behind the library, little drops of colour against the grey concrete eye-sore that is our main arts and humanities library...

Moments at Home

Bella cat watching hopefully from the sofa arm - is it dinner time yet says her calm constant stare. She has been on a very unwelcome diet recently, hard to enforce with two cats but she is starting to get a bit more streamline. We are very cruel cat servants owners.

Daffs in my lovely Orla Kiely vase C gave me for Christmas. I love the contrast of the yellow and white

Moments of Crafty Naughtiness

A new project and new yarn...and worse of all the new project doesn't involve the new yarn! What a rebel... I'm not very popular with hubbie but it makes me happy ;) 

Moments of Nostalgia

On my break from the library I walked to the area of campus we call The Downs, a lovely green open area. The building at the bottom is Lincoln Hall, and that is where my parents deposited me with my suitcase ten years ago as a fresh-faced 18 year old ready for the adventures of university. If you had told me then I'd still be studying 10 years later I would have laughed! I have had a few years out, it hasn't been constant, that's enough to drive anyone a bit bonkers.... It's a truly beautiful campus in all four seasons, I've been very lucky :)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

A New Month

March is finally here and we are that one step closer to spring :) After a bit of a miserable February here is a new month, a new beginning, the next step. I've now completed two months' worth of baby hexagons, I've added a few more colours I'm less sure about but as it's a 'de-stash' project I've raided my yarn supplies and pulled out a few more shades. We'll see how it progresses

Our kitchen table has become a bit of a mini-green house. I'm sat at it today editing some more of my monstrous thesis. I saw a single baby daffodil from these bulbs, which I'd abandoned in the garden and thought I'd bring them in to see if I can encourage them to grow some more. A single joyful yellow head pointing towards forthcoming spring hooray! The photo below is of our lime 'tree'. It's a relatively new addition, but having a bit of a growth spurt so we are hoping for some limes this year.

Oh how I'd like to be a cat. This is Izzy, having a cat nap on my arm - not the most productive place for her to sleep when I'm trying to type but she doesn't mind.

Have a lovely week everyone